rhetoric

15 Stories

Hey, Pundits: Think Before You Say 'Nazi,' 'Katrina'

Bush was no member of Third Reich; ObamaCare is no deadly storm: Kathleen Parker

(Newser) - Ask a pundit, and you might learn that ObamaCare is this president's Katrina; or, as Sarah Palin recently attested, that that national debt is like slavery. Plenty of others have called George W. Bush and/or President Obama a "Nazi." It's time to rein in these comparisons,... More »

Gettysburg Address Was Short, Entirely Too Sweet

Chuck Thompson argues that the masterpiece of rhetoric missed its chance

(Newser) - Today is the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address, perhaps the most famous and vaunted speech an American president has ever delivered. It's revered for Abraham Lincoln's force, clarity, and brevity—it's only 278 words, David Kusnet at CNN points out, and it uses mostly one- and... More »

Obama Speech Takes on Defensive Edge

Favorite phrase—'Let me be clear'—now signals grim determination

(Newser) - One of President Obama's longest-running, most-used rhetorical standbys is the earnest phrase "let me be clear." It cropped up in his national debut speech at the 2004 convention, was deployed throughout the campaign, and continues. But let me be clear—Obama's use of the phrase has changed. During... More »

Race-Speech Obama Is MIA

Prez's actions failing to match his clear rhetoric of past

(Newser) - The moral clarity that Barack Obama revealed in his groundbreaking Philadelphia speech on race has been nowhere to be seen recently, writes Richard Cohen. The Obama who made that speech wouldn't have let the Chinese stage-manage his appearances, or allowed the civilian trial of Khalid Sheik Mohammed go forward without... More »

Obama's Nobel Is the 'Not George W. Bush' Award

He's now the fourth recipient

(Newser) - The Nobel Peace Prize President Obama won today is nothing more or less than the “fourth Nobel Prize for Not Being George W. Bush,” writes Michael Grunwald. The other beneficiaries of the NPNBGWB were Jimmy Carter in 2002, for criticizing the Iraq war buildup; Mohamed ElBaradei of the... More »

Congressman Defiant Over 'Die Quickly' Jab

Apologizes to the dead, not GOP, cites US health care 'holocaust'

(Newser) - The Democratic congressman who belittled Republicans for promoting a health care plan that wants the ill to "die quickly" ratcheted up his rhetoric even more today. Noting that some Republicans had demanded he apologize, Florida's Alan Grayson took to the House floor with an apology of a different sort:... More »

Tearful Pelosi Fears Rhetoric Could Lead to Violence

Speaker tears up while recalling late '70s political violence

(Newser) - Fighting back tears, Nancy Pelosi said today she fears the inflammatory rhetoric surrounding current political debate could lead to violence, the Hill reports. “I have concerns about some of the language that is being used because I saw…I saw this myself in the late '70s in San Francisco,... More »

Town Hall Nazi-Talk Trivializes Holocaust

(Newser) - Comparing your nemesis to a Nazi has been a "staple of American T-shirt and bumper-sticker political culture," writes Michael Gerson in the Washington Post, and such Nazi-talk has becoming a recurring element of the health care protests. "Anyone with a black felt pen and the ability to... More »

Teleprompter's No Cop-Out: Lincoln Would've Loved It

It's no cop-out: Presidents should be precise

(Newser) - President Obama has taken much flak for his reliance on the teleprompter—it's a crutch, goes the charge. In fact, it plays a very different—and essential—role, writes Michael Gerson in the Washington Post: It “represents the elevation of writing in politics,” showing that the president and... More »

Why McCain Has More 'Friends' Than Facebook

The candidate wants to be your buddy

(Newser) - John McCain wants to be your friend. He regularly and repeatedly addresses audiences as “my friends,” Paul Collins writes for Slate, calling the habit  "the most mystifying verbal tic of any politician since Bob Dole." FDR and William Jennings Bryan shared the habit, but in recent... More »

Obama Gets Personal With Voters

Senator aims to shed pure-rhetoric image

(Newser) - Seeking to shake criticism that he’s nothing more than a talented orator, Barack Obama has spent the week meeting voters face-to-face, the New York Times reports. His massive primary-campaign rallies were energizing, but also “isolating,” said his chief strategist. So instead the presumptive Democratic nominee has hosted... More »

Bush Rues Gun-Slinger Image

'I could have used different rhetoric' prez says on farewell swing

(Newser) - Looking back on his years in office, President Bush admitted yesterday he regrets using phrases like "bring 'em on,” and “dead or alive,” which “indicated to people that I was, you know, not a man of peace." In "retrospect I could have used... More »

Eloquence Can, in Fact, Be Presidential

Those dismissing Obama's speaking skills miss a key point of the role of a president

(Newser) - It’s a bit weird to defend something like eloquence, but that’s just the task to which the primary season has inspired Calvin Trillin, writing in the Los Angeles Times. Rivals and pundits alike dismiss Barack Obama’s eloquence as some kind of liability, whereas Trillin sees in the... More »

Clinton Slams Obama Over Nafta Talk

Report: Aide assured Canada the candidate was only 'positioning'

(Newser) - Hillary Clinton hammered Barack Obama today over reports that his chief economic adviser privately told Canadian officials anti-Nafta talk was “more about political positioning than a clear articulation of policy.” The simmering story lurched forward today when the AP obtained the Canadian memo, reports Talking Points Memo. Obama's... More »

Candidates Home In on NH Independents

Critical 45% bloc favors McCain, Obama; but many still undecided

(Newser) - As the battle for New Hampshire looms, would-be presidents are largely abandoning partisan rhetoric to court the state’s independents, who comprise 45% of the voting base there. The New York Times explores the far-reaching implications in this contest of unaffiliated voters, whose decisions will likely come right down to... More »

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